Agriculture Department Announces $32M in Natural Resources Protection Funding; Robert Bonnie Comments

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The Agriculture Department is investing $32 million in new projects meant to help protect natural resources and maintain the health of forest ecosystems through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership.

USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service will use the fiscal year 2017 funding to launch ten new projects and sustain 26 existing partnership projects to conserve public forests and grasslands that connect to private lands, the department said Tuesday.

Federal, state and local partners will also help finance the projects with $30 million in additional funding through financial and in-kind contributions over three years, extending the projects to 29 states.

Robert Bonnie, USDA undersecretary for natural resources and environment, said the collaboration aims to help local partners address the challenges in protecting communities, watersheds, forests and woodlands from various threats.

The ten new projects that would receive USDA funding are:

  • Alaska – Prince of Wales Island Landscape Restoration Partnership (Tongass National Forest)
  • California – Central Sierra Recovery and Restoration Project (Sierra National Forest)
  • Michigan – Partnering for Watershed Restoration of Lake Superior (Ottawa National Forest)
  • Nebraska – Nebraska Northwest Landscape Restoration Project (Nebraska National Forest and Pawnee National Grasslands)
  • Oregon – Salmon Superhwy Basin Management Project (Siuslaw National Forest)
  • Oregon – North Warner Multi-Ownership Forest Health Project (Fremont-Winerna National Forest)
  • Pennsylvania – Sustaining Pennsylvania’s Oak Ecosystems through Partnership in Forest Management (Allegheny National Forest)
  • Utah – Monroe Mountain Aspen Ecosystems Restoration Project (Fishlake National Forest)
  • Virginia – Lower Cowpasture Restoration Project (George Washington National Forest and Jefferson National Forest)
  • West Virginia – Appalachian Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (Monongahela National Forest)

Under the current programs the USDA, tribes, private landowners and others recently completed the nearly $4.4 million Lake Superior Basin Landscape Restoration Project in Wisconsin to restore critical spawning habitat for brook trout.

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